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Relating to the general government or union of the states; based upon, or created pursuant to, the laws of the Constitution of the United States.

The United States has traditionally been named a federal government in most political and judicial writings. The term federal has not been prescribed by any definite authority but is used to express a broad opinion concerning the nature of the form of government.

A recent tendency has been to use the term national in place of federal to denote the government of the Union. Neither settles any question regarding the nature of authority of the government.

The term federal is generally considered to be more appropriate if the government is to be viewed as a union of the states. National is used to reflect the view that individual state governments and the Union as a whole are two distinct and separate systems, each of which is established directly by the population for local and national purposes, respectively.

In a more general sense, federal is ordinarily used to refer to a league or compact between two or more states to become joined under one central government.

West's Encyclopedia of American Law, edition 2. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Inouye has been an opponent of federalizing tort law.
However, not all Senate opponents of federalizing tort law were reelected.
We've not reached the bottom so let's try de-centralization instead of federalizing and dividing the country,' Mendoza said.
In such dialectic fashion, the Ready to Teach Act continues the policy of federalizing the U.S.
Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice as federalizing forces in the early stages of each union.
Not surprisingly, there is widespread support for federalizing airport security, a task currently entrusted to the private sector.
Among other things, 113 new federal (and some 600 state and local) prosecutors were to be assigned full-time to federalizing gun control offenses previously handled at the state and local levels.
In February, an American Bar Association (ABA) task force headed by former Attorney General Edwin Meese released a strongly-worded report lambasting Congress for federalizing criminal laws in order to appear tough on crime.

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